Legacy Foundation Announces Award Recipients of the Give in Lake County: High School Challenge
"I've always had a problem with confidence," one student wrote in her Give in Lake County: High School Challenge essay. "But working with the younger children at our middle school made me realize that I, too, can be confident in my skills."
Legacy Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the first Give in Lake County: High School Challenge. The 30-day effort encouraged Lake County high schools and high school students to celebrate National Volunteer Month by volunteering, fundraising or entering the essay contest.
Hammond High School and the American Diabetes Association won the volunteer contest and will each receive $1000. Highland High School and Halo of Hope won the fundraising competition and will each receive $1000. Munster High School Senior Emma Hong won the essay contest and will receive a $1000 college scholarship. High school staff members Amy Vezmar, professional school counselor at Highland High School, and Maritza Medina, foreign language instructor at Hammond High School, will both receive a $100 gift card for coordinating their school's participation in the challenge.
"Highland High School stands proud with its student volunteers who dedicated their time and effort to helping other school-aged children in need," said Vezmar.
For the volunteer competition, high school students were asked to volunteer from April 1 to April 30 and track their hours. Hammond High School, Hanover Central High School and Whiting High School participated in the volunteer contest contributing a total of 158 service hours. Hammond High School volunteered 68 hours for the month, the most of the three schools. Hanover Central High School came in second place with 46.5 hours. Whiting High School trailed Hanover by three hours. The American Diabetes Association received the most volunteer hours.
The fundraising competition required participating high schools to select a nonprofit organization to fundraise for throughout the month of April. The school and the nonprofit utilized the free Legacy Foundation Donor Engagement Platform to raise funds for the cause.
Hammond High School, Highland High School and Whiting High School raised $1599 for three organizations. Highland High School raised $583 on behalf of Halo of Hope Foundation, an organization that provides emotional, financial and educational support to children and their families who are facing cancer. Whiting High School raised $510 for the American Cancer Society, dedicated to helping persons who face cancer through research, patient services, early detection, treatment and education. Hammond High School raised $506 for the American Diabetes Association that leads the fight for those affected by diabetes.
"Our student leaders spearheaded the research and promotion of our fundraising activities for this year's Give in Lake County: High School Challenge," said Vezmar, "setting an admirable example for their peers by helping to instill values such as responsibility, selflessness, and awareness."
The essay contest required students to submit 500 words or less describing how they would make Lake County a better place to live, work, worship and play. Hong was selected as the winning essay writer by members of the Legacy Foundation Grants Committee.
In her essay Hong wrote that "meaningful change begins in our own backyard." She would like to see Lake County high schools collaborate through a student-led committee to plan diversity events and community service projects.
Nine students from five high schools submitted original ideas. Some students wanted to implement mentoring programs to eradicate bullying or give youth role models. Others wanted to unify the community across high schools by introducing leadership activities or sports clubs that spanned city and town boundaries. Highland, Hobart, Lake Central, Morton, and Munster high schools each had essay submissions.
"Legacy Foundation developed the Give in Lake County: High School Challenge because we understand the need to engage Lake County youth in the practices of philanthropy. The challenge not only provided opportunities for our students to volunteer and fundraise for local nonprofit organizations, but we were also able to witness their hard work and the level of commitment they have towards their community," said Legacy Foundation Program Officer Barry Tyler.